Farmers' markets can be important to developing, growing and adapting a farm's business plan. The key is knowing the right farmers’ market for your operation and getting your marketing right. At FCSAmerica, we helped launch and continue to support the Fallbrook Farmers’ Market in Lincoln, Nebraska. To mark Fallbrook’s last week of the season, we are sharing some lessons learned from market manager Megan Jackson.
- New producers should consider smaller markets like Fallbrook. Sustaining the kind of production needed to succeed at large farmers’ markets is challenging. Smaller markets allow operators to more easily meet demand while perfecting their growing techniques. Competition also isn’t as keen as at large or weekend market.
- Commit to good customer service. Done right, farmers’ markets can help producers reach new customers and develop larger accounts, such as with restaurants or through a CSA (community-supported agriculture).
- Use customer feedback to grow what people want. Farmers’ markets offer direct and immediate customer feedback that producers can incorporate into their crop plans.
- Know how to market your products. Professional, attractive signage and product presentation matters. So does the placement of your product table – too far back and customers won’t want to approach. Market managers know what works and what doesn’t. Heed their advice.
The successful operators “learn how to best market and sell their products,” Megan said. “They also use farmers' markets to help build capitol to grow their farm, to buy land or equipment.”